Etihad Airways warns its pilots about new layoffs.

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Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has warned pilots of immediate compulsory layoffs this week as demand for air travel fails to recover as quickly as expected from the coronavirus crisis.

See also: Etihad Airways launches a series of podcasts that will touch on the most relevant topics in the industry.

The warning in a letter to pilots, seen by Reuters, comes a day after the state airline said it was pushing on with plans to shrink to a mid-sized carrier.

“The hard reality is that, despite all hopes, our industry is simply not recovering quick enough and we will continue to be a much smaller airline for some time. Based on all these factors, it has become clear that we have no choice but to further reduce our workforce”, pilots were told in an email distributed on Monday, Reuters reported.

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Etihad employed nearly 2,000 pilots as of February, according to its website. Sources have said hundreds of staff, including some pilots, had been laid off before the latest cuts.

Affected pilots would be notified within 24 hours, it said, without saying how many would lose their jobs.

Most of its employees are foreigners and not eligible for government benefits in the United Arab Emirates.

Etihad on Sunday said it was continuing to scale down the airline’s operations and that it would become a mid-sized, full service carrier concentrating on its wide-body fleet.

It was not immediately clear whether that meant it would shrink its fleet of 30 Airbus narrow-body A320 jets.

Etihad has said it may retire its 10 Airbus superjumbo A380s due to the pandemic.

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